Spousal abuse is defined as any type of physical, emotional, financial, or mental harm inflicted on one’s spouse. While abuse is a serious issue under any circumstances, the legal implications of abuse accusations can be particularly damaging during a divorce. If you were abused during your marriage, or you are facing accusations of abuse from your spouse, and are now seeking a divorce, your divorce process will most likely be affected.
In New Jersey, divorces may either be filed as “fault” or “no-fault,” depending on the wishes of each spouse and the circumstances of their divorce. A no-fault divorce will simply state that the couple was unable to get along, whereas a fault divorce will cite a specific reason for the separation. Abuse is one of the reasons a person may claim is the fault of their divorce. The abuse, according to New Jersey law, must have been physically or mentally cruel, endangering the spouse’s safety or makes it otherwise unreasonable for the spouse to be able to live with his or her abuser. If this is the case, the abusive spouse may receive less favor in court for being the person at fault for the divorce.
In a fault divorce where one person in the marriage alleges that abuse was the reason for their divorce, the division of property, child custody, and alimony are all likely to be affected. For example, if the allegedly abusive spouse requests alimony, he or she may receive less because he or she was at fault in the divorce. Additionally, the division of property may be work against the abuser. If the alleged abuser prevented his or her spouse from working or controlling their own finances, the court may award more to the abused to compensate.
The spouse accused of abuse may also lose custodial rights, even if the child in question was never abused. In child custody cases, the court will evaluate each parent based on his or her ability to care for the child, and charges of abuse will typically count as a black mark.
Nearly all divorces have problematic aspects, and divorces involving spousal abuse are more complex than most. Whether you are facing accusations of abuse by your spouse, or you are fighting against your abuser for a divorce, you need legal representation. Our divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Ryan E. Gilbert, LLC can help you defend your rights, advocate for your fair share of the marital assets, and even help you gain custody of your child.
Contact the Law Offices of Ryan E. Gilbert, LLC today for help with your divorce.